by Marisa Spyker
William & Mary continued its excellent track record with the Goldwater Scholarship Program this year with three students snagging coveted spots on the list of just over 250 undergraduates nationwide.
Lyuba Bolkhovitinov, Bernadette Deschaine, and Melissa Guidry, all juniors at W&M, were chosen among a pool of 1,150 applicants from 415 colleges and institutions this year. Jessica Joyce ’17 received an honorable mention.
The Goldwater Scholarship Program was established in 1986 by Congress to honor the late Senator Barry Goldwater, who served in the U.S. Senate from the ‘50s through the ‘80s, and was the Republican presidential candidate in 1964.
The awards are reserved for undergraduate sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the fields of science, math and engineering. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500.
Four-year institutions are eligible to nominate up to four students each year. Bolkhovitinov, Deschaine, Guidry, and Joyce all submitted applications this year on the recommendation of their faculty advisors and Lisa Grimes, director of fellowships in the Charles Center. A faculty committee selected them for nomination from a pool of twelve applicants.
“Once again, the W&M Goldwater nomination committee has done an excellent job of identifying outstanding candidates," said Grimes. "We are thrilled with this year’s results. Rising sophomores and juniors interested in applying next year should begin talking to their faculty advisors now.”
Since the award’s inception, W&M students have performed consistently well. Last year, all four W&M nominees received the scholarship.
Three out of eight of the scholarships granted in the state of Virginia this year were to students at W&M; students from Christopher Newport University, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, Washington and Lee University, and Hampden-Sydney College also received awards.
Lyuba Bokhovitinov ’17, a Monroe Scholar at William & Mary, is from Burke, Virginia. A neuroscience major, she is involved in a developmental neuroscience lab, where she is researching anterior-posterior neural axis plasticity, which has important implications for the treatment of neuronal injury and neurodegenerative diseases in humans. She plans to pursue graduate school. Her advisor is Margaret Saha.
Bernadette Deschaine ’17 is a biology major from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. After graduating from William & Mary, where she is a Monroe Scholar, she plans to conduct biomedical research and earn her Ph.D. Long-term, she aims to study the interactions between the human immune system and microorganisms and parasites. She is interested in what shapes different immune responses and how those affect health. Her advisor is Helen Murphy.
Melissa Guidry ’17, from Sterling, Virginia, is majoring in physics and applied mathematics. A recipient of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Research Scholarship, her focus is in the field of quantum optics. She is a participant in the LIGO Science Collaborative, which detected gravitational waves earlier this year, and hopes to one day become a university professor and lead a research group specializing in quantum optics, quantum information, and computational physics. Her advisor is Eugeniy Mikhailov.